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Outside time for 4-5-6 year old--4-6 hours?!


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I was just perusing Ambleside Online and saw that CM recommended 4-6 hours outside every day for the little people (the under-6 set, it seems). I was thinking we were doing well with trying to get in an hour or so. FOUR to SIX HOURS?!!! I think it's a wonderfully lofty goal....but....

 

how does one do this? (And still run a household?)

and

what do you do outside?

 

We live on a farm, and we enjoy walks outside. My son has a nice sandbox...he also helps me plant flowers (when it is appropriate to do so--dead of winter, not so much)....he also just sort of likes to arrange and rearrange things outside.

 

This makes me think I need to actually take him to the park every day....or at least come up with some more outside stuff 'to do'. Summertime will be easier (the pool, the baby pool, the sandbox, little sister should be walking by then and not trying to eat so much mulch...)

 

Seriously. Do any of you other CM-devotees get in this much outside time? it's no wonder we're all so vit D deficient in 2012......:tongue_smilie:

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I did when my kids were that age. We spent hours at the playground each day. Thankfully, I had a like-minded buddy who had children the same age as mine, so we kept each other company while the kids played. We'd meet up at the playground around 2 or 3 and stay until 6. Many times, I'd also take the kids for a couple of hours in the morning as well. When I look back, I don't know how we did that, but at the time, it was actually kind of nice.

 

Lisa

Edited by LisaTheresa
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Seriously. Do any of you other CM-devotees get in this much outside time?
I love CM and we are outside a great deal, between gardening, hiking, bird watching, park days, etc.

But there is still no way in the world that we are outside that much!

I personally like to think that things average out. Some days/seasons you are simply outside more than others.

 

On the other hand, I do think we (as a society) tend to stay inside more now and don't let children play outside in inclement weather. I'm not talking lightening and thunder, but general rain showers, snow storms, muddy weather, etc. It is good for children to be out in all types of weather, just not beautiful weather days.

 

I thought it was harder to be outside for long stretches of time when my child was the age range you listed. It is easier now that he is old enough to go out back unsupervised.

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Wow. I think this is going to revolutionize my life.

 

It is hard to get out when the baby has to nap twice a day still, but she's dropping that soon, I think. It's hard to stay at the park for a long time b/c she gets so tired! But still....

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My little fella easily spends that much time outside when the weather is reasonably agreeable. That kid can spend three hours sitting in a pile of grass clippings. Lucky for me, we have a secure yard so I don't have to be out there too. When the yard wasn't so secure, I spent a lot of time lying on the grass reading and hanging washing, lol.

 

Rosie

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I have known people who do this, at least in better weather. They find a nice place to put a blanket and let the kids run around the woods or park. They bring snacks and a stroller or blanket for the baby to sleep, and so on.

 

But I think there is a more basic issue that makes it a bit harder for us to follow that advice. In CM's time, no one would have blinked at sending an average four or five year old out for the afternoon to play alone, and even younger kids would have a great deal more freedom - they might be able to play close to the house or go out further afield with older children.

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

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Depending on the time of year we're outside for about that much quite frequently. An hour or so playing outside while I'm hanging washing, feeding / cleaning chickens, doing a dog poo pick up, etc, then inside for a couple of hours school work. Half an hour play outside, another hour of school. Lunch outside if it's warm, then playing or helping while I do gardening or while I'm in and out checking on them and doing inside jobs (DS often takes a book and reads under a tree, DD will be in the sandpit or play house). Once my jobs re finished and we've all had a rest we can walk or play at a park for an hour or two, dinner outside, more playing outside / exploring. I guess in winter we'd perhaps only manage an hour or so but spring/autumn/winter would be a 3-4 every day and more most days.

 

What do they do... climb, swing, ride bikes, sand pit, bear hunts, insect hunts, painting, chalk on the concrete, read in their play house or tent, DD plays 'house' in the play house. Gardening, tree climbing, ball games... lots of stuff!

 

One advantage... if they're outside they're not making a mess inside :-D so there's less cleaning for me!

Edited by Grover
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I have known people who do this, at least in better weather. They find a nice place to put a blanket and let the kids run around the woods or park. They bring snacks and a stroller or blanket for the baby to sleep, and so on.

 

But I think there is a more basic issue that makes it a bit harder for us to follow that advice. In CM's time, no one would have blinked at sending an average four or five year old out for the afternoon to play alone, and even younger kids would have a great deal more freedom - they might be able to play close to the house or go out further afield with older children.

 

Yeah--I agree. I definitely have to be present, even though we are in a safe, rather remote-ish place, my children are 4 and 1. I've GOT to be with them. It is what it is. (But I could read books....!!)

 

A housekeeper would be nice. So would a chef.

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We do, for the most part.:) I've found that being outside so much keeps them happier and keeps my house cleaner. Seriously, the times we are inside, we are either sitting down to do school, eat, or taking our rest time. If they get ranbunctious inside i kickthem out. We have very few toys, because theyd really just rather be outside.

 

Typical day is

Get up at 7, eat, make beds, chores, ect. I go for a walk with the dog daily at around 7:15-7:30 for half hour. Anyone who is dressed and ready can join me. They love to try and be ready because they like coming with me. I push the baby in the stroller and the big girls can ride bikes or scooters.

Start seat work at 8, done by 9:30 at the latest.

Head out to the park, pack a lunch. Once a week we have coop at the park, once a week we meet friends at a different park, once a week we have ballet, and the other days we park hop, have play dates, ect.

Stay until 1 or so. Come home so baby can nap and big girls can have some down time. They are allowed a movie or computer time. I read aloud, we play board games or put puzzles together...you know, the stuff that can't happen with a toddler lol.

At around 3, baby gets up and we all have a snack. I do some chores and get dinner started/prepped.

At about 3:30, we take our bikes to the neighborhood park. Lately we've been taking some sand toys and they've spent hours digging in the sand by the lake. Otherwise they play on the playground, climb trees, or ride their bikes down the hills.

At about 5:30, we head home again.

The big girls (4 and 6) are allowed to stay outside playing with the neighbors until it gets dark, about 6:30 here.

I shower everyone, and dh gets home at about 7, we eat dinner.

Sometimes I take the dog for another walk after dinner, and they come with me then too...anything to delay bedtime lol.

 

So, if they go with me on my walk, it's about 6-7 hours of outside time. In the summer, it isn't so much, because Florida sun can be brutal...even in the pool. We average about 4 hours during the summer, 2 in the morning and 2 in the late afternoon.

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

 

I have 4 - ages 2-9, so they all play together. Usually some sort of pretend game one of them comes up with. We also have a play system and a tree house that DH built for them. I am really big on letting them figure out how not to be bored. I don't entertain them.

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

Ok, so pass me the bad mamma trophy but what am I supposed to be outside protecting the kids from? As long as the fences are high enough, the grass isn't long enough for snakes and tools with blades are not within reach, I don't much worry. I go and check if they yell and intermittently in between yells. We only live on a suburban block though. When we visit my aunt's acres, we have to follow the boy around because he wanders.

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

 

The boy sits in piles of grass clippings, pulls flowers off plants, runs around chuckling and sits in my parsley pot. The girl climbs the tree and clothes line, is trying to learn to hula hoop and skip with a rope, practices sword fighting drills on the back gate (I thought she was just hitting it, but dh said last night she is imitating his drills) and digs. Sometimes they draw on the back porch with chalk and dd has raided the shed for hammers, nails and saws on occasion. Sometimes I have to redirect her to somewhere more appropriate- "yes you can saw the stump, no you may not saw the fence, it's not our fence." She also climbs the clothesline and pulls the clothes off for me or pegs what I hold up :)

 

Rosie

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I thought it was harder to be outside for long stretches of time when my child was the age range you listed. It is easier now that he is old enough to go out back unsupervised.

 

:iagree:Yes. This used to bother me (still does at times). So much of what I used to read about the "ideal" for early childhood seemed to point to getting the youngest children out for the longest periods of time -- but that was unrealistic for us when I had three babies under the age of three.

 

We live near an auto body shop and often had paint fumes in the backyard. We had no van then, and three car seats wouldn't fit across the back of the car. I literally could not go anywhere with them, so we got out on weekends (to parks) when we could take two cars. We did whatever worked in real life.

 

Now that the girls are 5, 5, and 7 :D we get out all the time. They put their own shoes on! They put their own coats on! They get themselves out the door AND we have a van. :001_smile: But we still don't do 4-6 hours a DAY, every day. I do think that a daily "outdoor hour" is a great goal, along with getting kids out in less-than-perfect weather AND having longer, whole days spent outside. Hopefully, that balances it all out.

 

FWIW, I think that if we lived in someplace more beautiful, less urban, and with better weather, we would be outdoors more than we are now. BTW, wasn't Charlotte Mason writing for upper-class mothers who had governesses, housemaids, cooks, and nannies?

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It depends on the day around here, but we live in a townhouse with limited space outside. I don't have the time to sit on the porch and watch my kids play for 4 to 6 hours a day. I can spare an hour or so and then I usually watch them from the kitchen, so when the weather is decent, they can definitely get in 3+ hours. On colder days, 1-2 hours is their limit (can't say I blame them). We only hit the park about once a week. For me, I just can't keep up on my chores, meals, organization, etcetera, when I leave the house too much. I know some people thrive on it but me, not so much. If I'm gone too much the whole operation falls apart. :ack2:

 

I think that CM's recommendation was based on the setting her students lived in. It was a lot more rural, they had more space. If I lived in the country, I KNOW my kids would be outside all day. I know this because we don't do TV or other screen media and whenever they're in the country or even at a house with a big yard, they find endless things to do outside and they spend all day doing them. Unfortunately, that's not our reality. :(

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

 

 

I'm always amazed at what they come up with. I might start with a toy or two...or even better, some cups or bowls. Really, they are great at coming up with stuff. Once, we met a friend at the science center, only to find out it was closed that day. Not wanting to waste the day, we went outside where there is a huge lawn and some giant oak trees. The kids played for FOUR hours. They made houses in the trunks of the trees, collected acorns, leaves, and twigs. Fought dragons and Theives, and made potions and cast spells. (and we aren't even Waldorf inspired lol) My girlfriend and I had a lovely time just chatting.

Today we went to the lake and the girls spend two hours with a few buckets and shovels. They found a bunch of moss, made nests, and formed eggs from the sand. They looked in the lake at the minnows, tried to catch them, and decided to go digging for worms to feed them.

I have actually found that my kids will play much longer in places that do not have a playground. Or if they do, they also have trees to climb or interesting nature to look at. They love to climb, but nature just holds their attention for much longer.

I'd check out parks, botanical gardens, farms, beaches, lakes, rivers, ect. The hardest thing for me right now is the toddler wants to run off a lot or eat things she finds. Otherwise being outside is really relaxing.

Edited by Gentlemommy
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I think that CM's recommendation was based on the setting her students lived in. It was a lot more rural, they had more space. If I lived in the country, I KNOW my kids would be outside all day. I know this because we don't do TV or other screen media and whenever they're in the country or even at a house with a big yard, they find endless things to do outside and they spend all day doing them. Unfortunately, that's not our reality. :(

 

I don't think it is just about being rural. There were CM schools in urban areas too. I come from a city. When my dad, who is about 60, was four, he used to go out all day and remembers playing down at the edge of the harbour regularly. That meant crossing the train tracks among other things. My mom at 10 walked with her 13 year old brother about 8km, including over a major bridge, to swimming lessons every week.

 

Things were just really different mentally as far as how much supervision kids needed.

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

 

My dd gathers sticks and leaves and builds "bird nests". She also loves to gather berries and make "salads" with leaves and grass. She plants acorns with every belief that they will grow into oak trees in the near future. She draws with chalk. She LOVES all things water and will walk around with a spray bottle spraying things for a good hour. She also likes to pour and measure (I just put a couple water tubs outside with some measuring cups and spoons.) Right now she is really into trying to climb trees. DS follows her lead. :D

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I am feeling quite invigorated by this thread!!! I love these thoughts and your experiences. THANK YOU.

 

(As for safety, where we are--when they are older it will be fine. We are very rural though and there are some hazards around, and most important I guess we do not have fenced-in anything! It's just wide open spaces--well, and the cowpasture. So wandering and roaming is very very easy. My ds probably wouldn't do this (??) but one never knows. We have two large ponds, several barns etc. If our yard were fenced-in entirely it would be a bit simpler!)

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I don't think it is just about being rural. There were CM schools in urban areas too. I come from a city. When my dad, who is about 60, was four, he used to go out all day and remembers playing down at the edge of the harbour regularly. That meant crossing the train tracks among other things. My mom at 10 walked with her 13 year old brother about 8km, including over a major bridge, to swimming lessons every week.

 

Things were just really different mentally as far as how much supervision kids needed.

 

Yeah, I can see this being the case. I actually do think we're all a little overly paranoid about supervision, but we live right near some woods with walking trails (which we love and enjoy regularly!) and I just don't care to have my toddler wander off and get lost. When dd (4) is playing outside with her little band of friends, I actually let them go do their thang. But if DS (2 in May) is out there, supervise I must. And that wouldn't be the case for me if I had a large fenced yard--I would let him do his thang, too!

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My 6 & 7 year olds play that long outside everyday (or used to until we got caught disobeying the rule here that I must be out with them). Now we sit in the house all day long.:glare:

They had a very small place to play. There was a playground and a small group of 4 trees. What did they do? They let their imaginations run wild. They made forts, dug holes, climbed the trees, searched for bones and treasure... I have no idea all the games they played. I think it is good for them. I homeschool so my kids don't have to sit inside 8 hours a day. Thankfully we are moving to the country soon so I can let them outside (unattended.. *gasp*) again.

 

It IS difficult to get my younger 3 out because they really can't be unattended, and all three nap at different times. *I* am stuck in the house all day, but this stage will pass. My littles probably get, at most, an hour outdoors on good days.

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If our yard were fenced-in entirely it would be a bit simpler!)

 

Is it possible to fence off a bit around the house? My aunt has one of her side doors open on to a fenced area. It's for her chooks, not kids :tongue_smilie: but if she had kids it'd be like an extra room to the house, just without walls and a roof. :lol: She gets most of her fencing wire from the dump so it doesn't cost much.

 

Rosie

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I don't think it is just about being rural. There were CM schools in urban areas too. I come from a city. When my dad, who is about 60, was four, he used to go out all day and remembers playing down at the edge of the harbour regularly. That meant crossing the train tracks among other things. My mom at 10 walked with her 13 year old brother about 8km, including over a major bridge, to swimming lessons every week.

 

Things were just really different mentally as far as how much supervision kids needed.

:iagree:For me, utilizing CM isn't about attempting to mimic behavior that would have been normal 100 years ago. There is no way that it would have been safe for me in my area to toss ds outside all day when he was between 4-6yo.

 

Mandy

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My older two are 3 and 5 and I strive to get them outside as much as possible. They are big enough now to get thei own shoes on, etc and our yard is secure so I keep within earshot and do a visual check every 5-10 minutes or so as I'm doing things around the house. I have all boys so I'm big on them getting outside because I don't like a lot of loudness and horseplay in the house and they need to get it out of their systems somehow!

 

As for what they do, we have a playset, power wheels, the dog is always out there to play with but far their favorite thing to do is find a patch of dirt and dig. Today they found a worm while excavating with their little diggers and it was a major household event!

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I feel guilty about this too, but not because CM says it is the standard, because I just don't like sitting outside! lol. I love biking, hiking, etc., but just sitting out in the yard while they play is like torture to me. I'm not sure why. We live in a quiet country like setting, but we live right on a relatively busy road and we have no fencing. We can't put in any fencing either because we are renters, so they can't go out without supervision. In the spring and fall, I try to take them to parks and meet up with friends as much as I can, but we share one vehicle and it makes it hard when DH is at work in the afternoon. I've vowed to be better at it this year, but I am paranoid about sending even my oldest two out alone. I've had scary things happen to me as a child, and while I know it's unlikely those things will happen to them, I just can't force myself to do it. I always think, "what if?"

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My kids are almost 4 and 6. We moved last summer to a house with a great yard. I can see them from the kitchen and office windows when they are in the back and they follow the rule of staying where I can see them at all times. So as of this past summer, they would play outside alone while I got things done in the kitchen or office. During months of really great weather, they were out there about 2 hours. When it's super cold, I still make them go out after lunch, but not more than 30 min if they want to come in. My MIL bought them an amazing Cedarworks playground and they are on it every single day that it isn't raining. Yeah, I know they won't melt in the rain but I don't send them out in it; honestly, I can't deal with the mud. They also are incredibly creative. They play things like pirate ship, space travel, prince/princess/dragon, etc. when they are outside.

 

The times listed in the OP do seem like a lot. We do school before lunch, outside time right after lunch, then reading/resting (alone) time, then activities or playdates if we have them. (music lessons, choir, etc.). There arent enough hours in the day for more time outside for us. Now, in the summer, it's different--we are swimming in my parents' pool on every hot day and they are easily outside for 4 or more hours.

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Didn't she have that advice for women who either had nannies that could do it, or housekeepers who could take care of stuff while they took care of the children?

 

Yes, that is what I read. It did talk about those in cities in volume 1 of the CM series, and talked about taking the train and spending the day in the country, taking a blanket and letting the baby sleep under the tree, etc. But honestly someone had to be taking care of dinner and the house during this time. CM series also talks about nannies and what moms should do, so yes it was aimed at mothers who had household help.

 

That said, we try to get outside as much as possible. Sometimes the kids are out 4-6 hours a day, and sometimes we are lucky to get 1. We try.

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I was just perusing Ambleside Online and saw that CM recommended 4-6 hours outside every day for the little people (the under-6 set, it seems). I was thinking we were doing well with trying to get in an hour or so. FOUR to SIX HOURS?!!! I think it's a wonderfully lofty goal....but....

 

how does one do this? (And still run a household?)

and

what do you do outside?

 

We did not manage 4-6 hours daily, but 2-3 hours every weekday, and 6-8 on weekends.

When my kids were little, we lived in Europe and spent 2-3 hours every day at the park. In pretty much all weather. The kids played with all the other kids there - they had their friends, the other kids who would come to the park every single day. I'd have friends among the mothers. I found that much more difficult when we moved to teh US because hardly anybody was at the playground.. people just sit in their houses or in the back yard.

On weekends, we would go hiking as a family, or rock climbing, and be outside all day long.

 

I find it harder now with older kids - when mine were little, they loved being outside.

Edited by regentrude
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My "olders" (6, 8, and 8) spend a LOT of time outdoors; unfortunately, my 2yo is trapped inside with me more often than not. I know this will get better as he gets older and demonstrates (age-appropriate) respect for our boundaries . . . for now, I take him out as often as I can.

 

As to what they DO . . .

 

- they spent HOURS one afternoon with a huge limb trying to crack a hole in the ice on the pond

 

- they climb trees and rig pulley-systems to send secret notes up and down

 

- they throw sticks into the pond

 

- they ride bikes and jump on the trampoline

 

- they take care of the chickens

 

- in winter, they sled and skate (some years we can afford skates, some years not)

 

- they throw rocks into the pond (this consumes HOURS of DS's time, regularly)

 

- they build "houses" out of bamboo-weed and leaves and whatever they can find

 

- they make up ridiculous games in which the rules make sense only to the game creators

 

- they put on plays, INFINITE plays . . . and they charge admission! haha!

 

- they dig holes

 

- they fill the holes with water

 

- did I mention throwing rocks and sticks into the pond?

 

- they set funny little goals for each other and try to time each other (this is exceptionally interesting since they don't have a timepiece)

 

- they collect things - sticks, rocks, funny seed pods, different types of bark, etc.

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In the spring, summer, and fall my kids are outside for that length of time. We live in the country without fences, and my older four play outside without supervision. I see them intermittently, and I periodically yell for them to give a "we're OK mom." :D If someone needs an adult, they split up so that someone stays with the child who needs help and the other(s) run to get me. Usually this drill is needed when they get stuck in trees. :001_rolleyes:

 

They do all the things a PP mentioned, but mostly they engage in pretend play acting out many of our read alouds. My 3yo & 9yo specifically love to play pioneer girls all.day.long. They make porridges, build pretend fires, pick berries, plant crops, etc. The boys find sticks and rifles, explore the grove, and pretend hunt. The boys have a real bow & arrow, slingshot, and pocketknife, so they are often using those. Sports equipment is huge too - basketball hoop, bikes, scooters, various balls, bases, bats, mitts, soccer cones, etc.

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- they collect things - sticks, rocks, funny seed pods, different types of bark, etc.

 

:D This drives my dh absolutely batty. He can't understand why they need all those collections. I finally told them all the collections have to reside in their playhouse so I don't have to hear about it from dh.

 

My kids can spend hours collecting seed pods, moving them around in various containers, shelling them, and then moving the seeds around in various containers.

 

A few days they were out in the rain collecting rain water from the roof in various buckets and trying to fill up a stock tank with it. :lol:

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On nice days, we try do school outside as well, so the hours can add up. I put out a little desk & chair on the backyard patio for written work. We sit on a cushioned bench outside for readings and discussions. It can get tricky to balance warmth vs glare but finding it can be blissful.

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I was just perusing Ambleside Online and saw that CM recommended 4-6 hours outside every day for the little people (the under-6 set, it seems). I was thinking we were doing well with trying to get in an hour or so. FOUR to SIX HOURS?!!! I think it's a wonderfully lofty goal....but....

 

how does one do this? (And still run a household?)

 

 

You don't. CM was writing to nannies. You'll find advice on distracting a child by having them run to the cook on a trivial errand :D.

 

We do get out for 1-3 hours nearly every day, and the pps have lots of good ideas for accomplishing that. But remember that CM was living in a world of household help, and even though she worked to educate every child, her advice on early home education assumed a "nurse"/nanny.

 

ETA: now I see the pps RE nannies ... well, they were right! :)

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My kids play outside about an hour or two a day. Our yard is fully fenced and secure but there isn't any grass -just dirt and rocks and no shade. So it gets really hot out there. We can't make it nicer because we rent.

 

2yo likes to throw the stones at the windows :glare: and the other two like to turn on the hose and flood the place.

 

We have a nice park close by but I'm just not up to taking them out every day for so long - we go a couple times a week for about an hour. Nearly everybody here works so when I go to the park we are often there alone or with toddlers.

 

My kids love to be outside but I do find it hard to manage. I can't just let them wander off at their age because of snakes and spiders.

 

We don't really go on walks - we live in boganland and nearly every house has a pit bull that tries to rip the fence down when we walk past :glare:

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My kids need supervision at this age so 1-2 hours is what we strive for! I wish I had a full time housekeeper or nanny so they could stay outside longer! :D

 

:iagree: I aim for around 2 hours on any one day. We can manage 4-5 on special events like big home school park days but we are exhausted afterwards. All of us including me, then when we do go inside and they sleep I have to do all the stuff that didn't get done while I was supervising them outside. No less than two and no more than three is a good balance for us on a normal day. We would probably do longer more often (despite the fallout for me) if we had a park buddy but all our "hey, it's sunny - let's go to the park" families moved away :(

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My kids play outside about an hour or two a day. Our yard is fully fenced and secure but there isn't any grass -just dirt and rocks and no shade. So it gets really hot out there. We can't make it nicer because we rent.

 

 

We don't really go on walks - we live in boganland and nearly every house has a pit bull that tries to rip the fence down when we walk past :glare:

 

I'm not in SA but I know just what you're describing and I feel for you. Walks around the neighbourhood? No thanks.

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Okay! I am catching the vision!!! I am loving this thought.....and we do live in a secure, safe place so as they get older I can totally see that they could play outside even if I'm not there.....

 

but let me ask this--what do your kids *do* outside? Do you just put out toys and let them have at it? do you have a lot of cool stuff in your own yard? how does this work? My son does seem to be good about just coming up with stuff to do, so maybe I'm overly concerned about this--maybe he'll be fine coming up with his own tricks.

First of all, I don't think CM really did suggest that it all be kids playing unsupervised. I remember a section about taking the baby and a picnic and letting the older kids play.

 

Secondly, I do find some of CM's suggestions to be mother-as-nanny, and therefore annoying. I also don't have a cook or a housekeeper, so I can't just romp outside all day long. Or I'd get bored demurely sitting on a blanket in the shade all day long.

 

I have managed to get my kids outside that much, but not year-round. 1-2 hours is much more manageable. It does involve them playing by themselves with each other or with neighbors. There is a set of swings and my kids have balls but otherwise they don't have too many objects. They do dig in the dirt and draw on the sidewalk with chalk at times. They like to bicycle, climb, play tag, run around, look at things, collect leaves, and so forth. They play some games of their own invention (involving toll booths and traffic tickets and so forth). In warm weather, we can eat outside; in summer we try to use our little yard as much as possible. Sometimes it's just sitting. And yes, I do take our work outside (which CM wouldn't count, and discourages!), we do drawing and such outside at times, and I supplement for walks.

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Yeah, but without household help it isn't going to happen. I have an older and a younger. I don't think it is possible to be outside playing with the younger for 4=6 hours AND inside doing school with the older for 4-6 hours and still have meals and clean clothes, lol.

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O.P., you should consider looking up C.M.'s volume 1 on Ambleside Online and just read the sections on "Out-Of-Door Life". I find it a lofty (almost impossible??) goal, but it is inspiring to read.

 

We are coming into our peak season for being outside here, so one thing that helps me is to keep dinner prep as simple and easy as possible some days/weeks...like having a cooking day where I cook a few things ahead, or using the crockpot, or prepping everything I can in the morning before we head out, or just planning easy menus. We don't exactly have our own yard here, but we do have some great parks with trails and walking paths, etc. close by, so I am trying to take the kids out for a good part of the day when the weather is nice. I'm learning the art of taking everything with us...meals, books, notepads...anything I think I can do or take care of out there...obviously I can't do cooking and laundry, but I'm finding things I can do. And my home stays neater when we are away (who knew taking a couple of roudy little boys out of it would keep it tidy?;)).

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Yeah, but without household help it isn't going to happen. I have an older and a younger. I don't think it is possible to be outside playing with the younger for 4=6 hours AND inside doing school with the older for 4-6 hours and still have meals and clean clothes, lol.

 

I think this is where Charlotte would have you spread your big quilt out under the willow tree where you and your older do lessons while the younger frolicks nearby in the daisies. Oh yes, and your cook back home prepares dinner... ;)

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I think this is where Charlotte would have you spread your big quilt out under the willow tree where you and your older do lessons while the younger frolicks nearby in the daisies. Oh yes, and your cook back home prepares dinner... ;)

 

I love C.M., but I do remind myself she had lofty expectations for mothers all the while never having had the raw realism of having any herself. ;)

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